ALEX Aronson sparked the Philippine Volcanoes to a pulsating 20-17 victory in extra time over Singapore on Wednesday to advance to the finals of the Asian Rugby Championship Division 1 tournament at the Philippine Sports Stadium.
Down by 10 in the waning seconds of the second half, the Volcanoes went to Aronson, who came through with a try and a successful conversion to force the extension. He capped his heroics with the “golden point” to lead the hosts to the huge triumph.
The Volcanoes set up a championship showdown on Saturday with Sri Lanka, which prevailed over Kazakhstan in the other match, 35-14.
“It was a really spirited effort from the boys. They didn’t give up, they kept pushing through. It took us 100 minutes to win the game so we’re all happy and proud,” said Aronson.
The top-seeded Filipinos appeared headed for disaster when Singapore took a 17-7 lead with 24 minutes left in regulation but fought back to salvage the win.
With time down to six minutes, the Philippines was awarded a penalty and Aronson made his attempt, pulling the hosts back to within 10-17.
The Filipinos’ effort was rewarded in the very last play of regulation as Aronson punched in the equalizing try and conversion to force the extra period, where the golden point rule applied.
Aronson made the most out of the penalty kick that the Philippines was given with 4:54 left in the second half of OT to take the win.
“Our thinking was to stay calm, trust in the system, and just keep playing down and we’d get our chances. Eventually we we’re able to break through,” said Aronson.
Singapore enjoyed a 10-point lead in the first 40 minutes of action.